Apple reportedly delaying iPadOS 16 — here’s why

Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Update: New MacBook Pros with M2 Pro power just tipped to launch next month.

Editor's Note: Weeks after this story was published, Apple confirmed iPadOS 16 is delayed until after iOS 16.

iPadOS 16 may be released later than expected, meaning 2022 may be the first year in a long time that a new version of iPadOS and iOS don't launch in the same week.

This is significant because it suggests Apple may want additional time to get the latest version of iPadOS in shape for its public debut. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that discussions are currently taking place inside Apple about delaying the release of iPadOS 16 until October, while still releasing iOS 16 in September as expected.

According to Gurman, the delay discussion is happening at least in part because Apple wants more time to fine-tune how Stage Manager works in iPadOS 16. Gurman believes that early criticism of the feature has Apple worried about how well Stage Manager on iPad will go over with the public, especially given how iPadOS 16's Stage Manager will only work on M1 iPads.

iPadOS 16 at WWDC 2022

Stage Manager is coming to both Macs and iPads this year, though as you can see it looks a bit more cramped on an iPad display. (Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

Our own Richard Priday expressed similar feelings on the subject recently, writing about why my favorite iPadOS 16 feature won't work with my iPad — and I'm not happy. However, given the impressive capabilities of Apple silicon, it's hard to imagine the company will find a way to get Stage Manager working on non-M1 iPads anytime soon.

Gurman also notes that delaying the launch of iPadOS 16 by a month or so will let Apple spend more of its engineering resources on iOS 16. It may also create some device-software synergy in Apple's announcement schedule, as the iPhone 14 is expected to be announced in September as iOS 16 launches, while we're expecting a new iPad Pro 2022 to be unveiled in October -- which might happen just as iPadOS 16 is ready for primetime.

Of course, you don't need to wait until October to check out iPadOS 16, if you're brave enough to experiment with beta software. The iPadOS 16 public beta launched in July, and since then anyone with the chutzpah to install it on an M1-equipped iPad can already play around with an early version of Stage Manager.

iPadOS 16 on an iPad showing Stage Manager creating overlapping windows of different sizes

(Image credit: Apple)

That's what we did while writing our iPadOS 16 public beta hands-on review, in which we lauded Stage Manager and celebrated the iPad's increasing multi-tasking capabilities. 

We'll be updating our review once iPadOS 16 is officially released, so stay tuned for a full breakdown of what's new. In the meantime, if you'd like to check the beta out for yourself, just follow our easy step-by-step guide to how to download the iPadOS 16 public beta. Once you've got it up and running, our guide to how to use Stage Manager on iPad will quickly introduce you to the new feature so you can try it out for yourself. Happy multitasking!

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.